Academic Chinese Writing

Academic Chinese Writing

I want to teach you more than just research paper writing.

Have you ever had the experience of starting a research paper but wondering if you are doing it right? Or have you ever found yourself having trouble turning your research ideas into a good paper, even though you think you know how to do and what to think about research? Even when you have a solid understanding of your own research, do you have trouble elucidating your research processes and outcomes through writing?

Academic Chinese Writing teaches how to write Chinese research papers. You may wonder if there is much to learn about Chinese research paper writing, for Chinese is your native language, a language you believe you cannot be any more familiar with. However, if you ever take great pains to write a research paper, you will understand that writing encompasses more than language per se. In addition to language, writing encompasses analytical thinking and logical order. Therefore, this course teaches more than research paper writing. Academic Chinese Writing teaches how to organize ideas and solve problems through writing, a higher function of writing.

Academic Chinese Writing first focuses on elements relevant to writing a research paper, such as academic writing features and the moves and steps of the common sections: Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Discussion, and Conclusion. Second, to lay a good foundation for academic writing, the course focuses on writing basics, such as the principles of paragraph writing, coherence and cohesion, and sentence structure. The later part of the course familiarizes students with several types of logical order, such as description, analysis, comparison and contrast, definition, classification, and commentary, via close reading and writing practice of expository articles. Learning these logical orders, students will better be able to organize their writing and make more effective arguments.

Complementary to the learning of academic paper components and writing basics is the writing of a research paper. During the first, second, and final drafts, students will receive feedback from the course instructor and the teaching assistant; their papers will also undergo peer review in written and oral forms. This process is incredibly important partly because a research paper per se is a medium whereby to build dialogues with research community members, and partly because critical feedback from the second or third party helps students understand how readers respond to their writing. Students will no longer write for themselves and be their own readers. Rather, they write for a wider audience and take great pains to write in a language amenable to their research communities. This recursive process—writing, discussing, and revising—not only stimulates their writing, thinking, and communicating skills but also gives them a better understanding of how to elucidate their own research through writing.

This is what Academic Chinese Writing is all about. This course helps students improve writing abilities from different aspects. Taking this course is similar to playing some video games. To proceed to a higher level, students participate in all sorts of practice, earn more writing points if they closely follow the advice from the course instructor, and make necessary improvement in each aspect. While they may begin the course as inexperienced writers who are worried about the first draft of their paper, by the end of the course students will be able to consciously manage their writing, understanding better their own writing challenges and developing their ability to self-examine and edit. Not only does Academic Chinese Writing enhance students’ writing abilities, but this course also raises their research productivity via critical reading, logical thinking, idea organizing, and communicative writing.